A round-up of major developments related to Covid-19 across the country.
Here’s a round-up of all the latest Covid-19 developments you need to know:
UAE reports 635 new Covid-19 cases, 406 recoveries
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday reported 635 new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus, as well as 406 recoveries. Additional 30,000 Covid-19 tests were performed today, revealing the 635 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 35,192. The total number of recovered cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) has reached 18,338 with 406 cases recovered today after receiving treatment. The currently infected cases of Covid-19 who are undergoing treatment are 16,588. The authority also announced two deaths as a result of the disease, bringing the total number of deaths to 266 in the country.
12 checkpoints in Abu Dhabi to implement movement ban
The Abu Dhabi Police have set up 12 checkpoints at various entrances of the emirates as the week-long travel ban starts from today. The police announced on Monday that there is a ban on movement in and out of Abu Dhabi as well as between the emirate’s regions of Capital city, Al Ain and Al Dhafra. The police have urged residents to comply with the travel restrictions. “Everyone must cooperate to implement the ban on movement. We ask members of the community to avoid travel between cities until the completion of National Screening Programme,” said Brigadier Salem bin Barak Al Dhaheri, Deputy Director of Traffic and Patrols Department.
Over 15,000 Indians repatriated from UAE last month
More than 15,000 stranded Indians were repatriated onboard 80 special flights and nine chartered services from the UAE last month, India missions have said. Over 10,000 Indian nationals from Dubai and 5,600 from Abu Dhabi flew back since May 7, when the Vande Bharat Mission – the largest evacuation operation – took off. The Consulate General of India in Dubai said that some 57 flights took 10,271 Indians to various destinations in India. “We also arranged sending 42 mortal remains. We are doing our best to serve the community, labourers and distressed people,” the Consulate pointed out. Meanwhile, 23 special flights and nine chartered services were operated from Abu Dhabi last month, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said.
Air travel may return to normal by 2021 summer, says Emirates president
The president of Dubai-based Emirates airline, Sir Tim Clark, says air travel is likely to return to normal in summer 2021, hoping that vaccine will be discovered in the first quarter of next year. “As long as this virus doesn’t go on for too long, we will go about our lives and see things going back to normalcy in June 2021. If we get the vaccine by Q1 2021, we have a fighting chance and my bet is on that. There will be quite a large uptick from summer next year for the medium and long-haul airlines,” he said. “There could be an uptick if vaccine for the new coronavirus is found. But next six to nine months will be tough for the airline industry,” he said during a webinar organised by Arabian Travel Market. “People are anxious to get back to their lives. This will be difficult period due to salary cuts and furloughs which is going to dampen demand in the short term. Once we enter 2021, things will change,” he added. The Emirates president expects that the airline can take around 3-4 years to rebuild its network at the same level as it was prior to Covid-19.
Sheikh Hamdan says Dubai is ‘taking off again’
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, chaired on June 1, a meeting of the Executive Council at Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3. During the meeting, Sheikh Hamdan said that Dubai Airport is the ‘beating heart of the world’ with Emirates Airlines being the artery, adding that Dubai is today, taking off again, and send hope and optimism message to the world as it managed to weather the storm to continue its socio-economic development journey. He also said that Dubai has presented a model of resilience and efficiency in dealing with crises to continue its journey of achievements. “We have learnt from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to defeat the impossible, and to turn the challenge into an opportunity to consolidate our achievements and benefit from our readiness and to rapidly adapt with new reality,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
Expats stranded in India seek clarity on return to UAE
Desperate to return to the UAE, expats stranded in India have said they are suffering business and job losses. On Sunday, India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger flights will continue till midnight on June 30. “It is once again reiterated that foreign airlines shall be suitably informed about the opening of their operations to or from India in due course,” a circular issued by the DGCA said. The UAE began welcoming stranded UAE residents with valid visas from June 1. Khaleej Times reached out to expats stuck in India, many of whom said they were separated from their families in the UAE. Shariq Khan, owner and founder of Gravity Events Management – the company that manages events such as Gulf Food, Gitex and Femina Women Award – said he has been stranded in New Delhi with his mother since March 19.
Emirates to add 50 destinations to network in June
Emirates airline is set to expand its network to 50 destinations in June as more and more countries have eased travel restrictions, its senior official said. Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer at Emirates, said the airline is confident to stage strong comeback in coming weeks by opening more destinations and facilitating transist passengers. “June is a very important month for the aviation in general and Emirates in particular as the airline is going to reopen more routes in coming days. We are in close touch with relevant authorities and the governments and will share the details once conclude a deal,” Al Redha told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Monday. Today, Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai have commenced scheduled and special repatriation flights to around 30 destinations across Asia, Europe, Africa and the US.
Mass testing to flatten Covid-19 curve in Abu Dhabi
Mass testing for coronavirus will be conducted in Abu Dhabi to ensure maximum people are reached as the emirate has imposed a movement ban which starts from Tuesday. Abdulla Al Hamed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), said on Sunday that mass testing is a key pillar of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19 through the national screening programme.The official said with the expansion of the testing project to include high-density areas, and to ensure that the largest possible number of the emirate’s population is reached as quickly as possible, authorities had to ban the movement between cities and reduce contact as much as possible. On May 31, Abu Dhabi authorities announced that movement in and out of Abu Dhabi as well as between the emirate’s regions of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafrah was banned for a week, from June 2, as government continues to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Abu Dhabi movement permits needed from Tuesday
Abu Dhabi Police have announced the provision of movement permits between cities in the emirates during the restricted movement period from Tuesday (June 2) for one week. People can obtain permits via the ‘Traffic Permits System – Abu Dhabi’ on the Abu Dhabi Police website. Abu Dhabi Police called on the public to adhere to decisions issued by the competent authorities and to comply with the specified timings of the national sterilisation programme.
Dubai-based dentist gives up practice to volunteer
A Dubai – based dentist in a private clinic has given up her practice to work on the frontlines battling the COVID19 coronavirus. Dr Nabeena Najeeb, an Indian dentist from Kannur district in Kerala, India, along with her husband Najeeb PP Kannur, the co-owner of Royal Pearl Restaurant in Al Barsha, have given up their regular jobs to battle against the pandemic. Parents to two kids, a 13-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl, Dr Nabeena volunteers at the Al Warsan Hospitality and Healthcare Centre for coronavirus patients while her husband distributes food kits to needy families and individuals across Dubai. Dr Nabeena told Khaleej Times she has been practising at a private dental clinic for nine years. “I came across posts on WhatsApp groups seeking volunteers when the crisis arose. I began my volunteer work in April in coordination with the Dubai Health Authority and the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, and have been here ever since,” she said.
Sharjah launches sterlilisation campaign at mosques
The Sharjah Islamic Affairs Department (SIAD) is continuing its intensified sterilisation campaign at all mosques as part of the precautionary measures being implemented across the country to curb the spread of Covid-19. Though a date for reopening the places of worship has not been specified, the campaign has been undertaken to ensure the safety of worshippers when they come back after restrictions are eased. The SIAD has started sanitising all its offices, related facilities, and Quran centres in various parts of the emirate. It is also carrying out cleaning in the mosques’ parking lots and outdoor areas as per the prescribed norms. The department has stepped up inspections in the mosques to ensure they comply with the highest standards and requirements.
Vending machines at Dubai airport to dispense PPE kits for Dh6
To keep passengers protected at all times during travel, Dubai Airports has installed vending machines selling PPE (personal protective equipment) at airport terminals. The two PPE vending machines are located in the departure areas of DXB’s Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The machines dispense PPE kits containing a mask and a pair of gloves. Each kit costs Dh6. The machine also offers two varieties of sanitisers, both costing Dh9 each. More products are expected to be added in the coming days, including European-made and certified reusable face masks. In addition to cargo and repatriation flights, which continued throughout the Covid-19 related suspension of operations since March 24, DXB is handling a number of scheduled passenger flights from Terminal 3 to select destinations from May 21.
Ras Al Khaimah eateries urged to get staff tested for Covid-19
Restaurants, cafés and gyms can reopen in Ras Al Khaimah from June 3 provided they meet certain requirements. According to circulars sent out to the businesses by the RAK Department of Economic Development (RAKDED), eateries have been urged to conduct Covid-19 tests on all employees to ensure they are negative. Employees and customers are required to wear face masks and gloves, while those with temperatures exceeding 38 degrees Celsius will be denied entry. Here is the list of guidelines: Restaurants >No shisha: The circular said shisha is banned in the first phase of the reopening. This will be reevaluated “in the future in accordance with the directives of health authorities in the UAE”. >Sanitisation: Comprehensive and periodic sanitisation must be conducted.
Families in UAE excited as loved ones stranded abroad return
Expats in the UAE – whose loved ones are stranded abroad due to Covid-19-triggered travel restrictions – finally have reason to celebrate. Starting Monday, residence visa holders started coming back to the country on special and regular flights operated by UAE carriers. Students pursuing higher education abroad are among the expats who got stranded away from their families after countries around the world imposed travel bans to contain the spread of Covid-19. Excited mother Nitu Maitra, whose daughter would be arriving to Dubai from the UK on June 2, she has a “deep sense of gratitude” to the UAE. “It feels like I just got up from what I may call every parent’s worst nightmare as I had almost lost hope. Just when I was on the verge of giving up, the UAE authorities gave us such a pleasant surprise in the form of the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approval my daughter needed to book a ticket back to the UAE.”My daughter was supposed to fly back on March 19. It has been a long wait, but when the approval came, it took all our pain away. We are thankful to the UAE authorities and its visionary leaders for reuniting us with our families,” said Maitra.
Click here to read more news from @khaleejtimes